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STAR Communities & Sustainability

View of Cambridge City Hall from Air
View of Cambridge City Hall from Air

In the spring of 2016, the City of Cambridge achieved the highest rating in the country from STAR Communities for its leadership in sustainability. STAR Communities assesses communities of all types and sizes across the country on their programs, policies and accomplishments that promote environmental, social and economic sustainability. 

Broadly speaking, “sustainability” is defined as the means to most efficiently utilize today's resources without negatively impacting future generations. Applying this principle to all facets of the City's operation fosters a healthy, safe, and productive community today and reinforces a strong foundation for generations to come.

Cambridge has long been recognized as a pioneer in sustainable initiatives. Encouraging clean energy practices, providing sustainable transportation options, ensuring that residents of diverse cultures and backgrounds have the resources they need, and supporting local retail and small businesses are just a few examples of the many ways sustainability efforts manifest in the City. These commitments not only make Cambridge a great place to live, work, and visit; they also serve as a model of excellence for communities throughout the country – and throughout the world. 

Achieving a 5-STAR rating is a great honor for the City and its residents, who have championed sustainability for decades. The certification process was led by the Community Development Department and involved the efforts of City staff members across all major departments, including Public Works, Human Service Programs, Police, Fire, Public Schools, Historic Commission, Water, Purchasing, and Licensing, among others. The leadership of the City Manager’s Office was crucial in establishing STAR certification as a citywide goal. 

The collaborative certification  effort lasted over nine months and culminated in the submission of over 500 data points, from maps and inventories to narratives and plan descriptions. Being a 5-STAR community also signifies the City’s obligation to continue being a leader in sustainability, and this initial data collection will serve as a baseline for future analysis as Cambridge continues to preserve, implement, and enhance sustainable solutions in the face of ever-changing challenges.

For More Information

For more information about STAR Communities and Cambridge contact Robert Keller at rkeller@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4602 or Cliff Cook at ccook@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4656.

For more information about the rating system contact STAR Communities.